Neurafarm: Smart Farming to empower farmers to feed the world

Democratizing (digital) farming technology to help farmers increase productivity and resource-use efficiency

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Febi Agil Ifdillah

Initiative's representative date of birth

23 February 1997

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Indonesia

Headquarters location: city

Bandung, Indonesia

Where are you making a difference?

Indonesia

Website or social media url(s)

http://neurafarm.com, https://www.linkedin.com/company/neurafarm/, https://web.facebook.com/neurafarm/, https://www.instagram.com/neurafarmofficial/

Date Started

10/2018

Project Stage

  • Start-up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

The "aha!" moment could be traced way in 2016 when I and a friend of mine (Majid) was brainstorming about how (digital) technology could help us to solve one of the pressing challenges facing mankind. We came across a report by the FAO, with an interesting (and of course, terrifying) question, "How to feed the world?" We believe that the power of innovation and technology could help us. Fast forward to August 2017, my friend (Pebriani) asked me if I were interested to create a venture. Without hesitation, I told her that I would love to. I, Pebriani, and Fadel decided to team up and I pitch to them about the idea of using tech in agriculture. We then invited Lintang to join us. Because she was an Agriculture Engineering student.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Today, more than 800 million people around the world go to bed hungry each night. Ironically, huge amount of them are farmers. Around 570 million of people in the world depend their livelihoods on farming, yet they could barely fulfill their own needs. We need them more than ever, because by 2050 we'll need to feed two billion more people with less resources (land decreasing, water scarc. Cause: uncertainty, lack of skill and guidance, crop disease & pest, and lack of access to credits/funding.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We create a digital platform to help them mitigate risk better, and improve their productivity. First, we tackle crop disease & pest problems by creating an apps called Dr. Tania (which is accessible for free). This apps could help them to identify disease from mere images (using Artificial Intelligence), connect with experts, and learn from thousands of plant/disease catalog consists of best practices. This is only a first step towards smart farming technology that involves IoT, sensors, drones, etc that would make agriculture more efficient, effective, robust, and profitable. Going forward, our strategy is to create a family of services and products that empower farmers to grow more, reach more audience, and distribute better. Within the next few months, we'll be launching "selling" and "community" feature, that will enable them to reach more people and sell with better price (cutting intermediaries), while also learn from each other. From the data we collected (transaction, farming activity), we hope that we can use them to help farmers get easier access to credits, get more informed decision, and increase their income.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Information become key factor in improving farmers productivity. However, not many farmers have access to high quality and easy to digest information. According to our survey, the majority of farmers (in Indonesia) identify plant diseases using their own experience and assumption which makes it not accountable and not accurate enough. Sometimes, it led them to total crop failure. It affects their welfare, and because of poor performance they are also having a hard time to access credits. Our first solution to this problem is a rapid, accurate, and easy-to-use plant disease diagnostics by leveraging Artificial Intelligence called Dr. Tania. Dr. Tania is a mobile application that could help farmers to diagnose and manage plant disease.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Our goal with this is to build a more robust food system, and a more sustainable agriculture on which we could produce food for everyone without compromising our future generation. We realize that in order for us to achieve that, we'll need to collaborate with a lot of stakeholders. There are several types of stakeholder that we identified: Tech Partner, Community Partner, Government Partner, Business Partners, Research Partner. As for Tech Partners, we've been lucky to be supported by NVIDIA and Amazon Web Services, and we plan to bring more to help us build better technologies on scalable infrastructure to serve more people, play a central we also partnered with Telkomsel (the biggest telco in Indonesia) to achieve more people and improve product, as for community, we routinely visit local farmers and community to create streamlined feedback in order for us to be better everyda

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Currently, Dr. Tania has been used in more than 300 cities and downloaded +6800 times with 2000 of users. We have engaged dozens of farmers union and community in Indonesia and plan do reach more. Our next step is that we want to reach around 50,000 farmers by the end of 2020 and gain 500K of users and make Dr. Tania able to identify more than 1000 plant disease in 150 commodity in 2022. Another milestone is to add more clients. We are currently developing B2B solution and is in touch with one of the biggest industrial farming companies in Indonesia. By early/mid March next year, we plan to release our new version of Dr. Tania where we’d introduce several new features: price prediction, community etc. The goal is to make Dr. Tania as a one stop solution for farmers to increase their productivity and resource use efficiency.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

One of the biggest barrier to enter the market is that farmers tend to resist new technology. Unless they’ve been proven and ‘accepted’ by their leaders. So our focus now will be to engage and create feedback loop with key opinion leaders in farmer communities. We distribute the product through Google Play Store, and promote it to farmers community such as komunitas 1000 Kebun, Indonesia Berkebun, and gardening extracurricular units in universities. These communities have a total of tens of thousands of members. We’ve also defined three types of partner namely Mission Partners, Local Government Partners, and Farmers Partners. Mission Partners are startups whose product is related with Dr. Tania, to bring value to farmers community.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Neurafarm believe that this is key to our goals: digitizing farms. In order for us to transform the agriculture industry, we need more data that can be used for cross industry: financial, agri-inputs, and many other industries. If you look into our pitchdeck (attached) the data we gathered can used for various stakeholders: for farmers, it could be used as proxy of their performance: we can help them to improve their productivity, and get better access to credits, for agro inputs company, the data can be used to forecast demand, for genetics company, the data can used to create new plant that are more robust. As for government, it could help them to create better policy.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Short: grants, Long:Dr. Tania is a freemium app and we plan to generate revenue from subscription fee. As we provide product recommendation, we also open and offer space for agro inputs company to list their products on our app. At least, for the next 6 months, if we were to have access to more funding, we’ll be developing several feature that empower farmers to increase their income, knowledge, and skills. But for the next 5 years, we’ll be focusing on three things: democratizing smart farming technology, smart green houses, and building plant factory. Our goal with this is to build a more robust food system, and a more sustainable agriculture on which we could produce food for everyone without compromising our future generation

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Febi Agil Ifdillah, Chief Executive & Technology Officer https://www.linkedin.com/in/febiagil/ Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, ex intern Kata.ai, Prosa.ai Lintang Kusuma Pratiwi, Chief RnD & Operations https://www.linkedin.com/in/lintang-kusuma-pratiwi-7386b9106/ Agriculture Engineering, ex Intern at Syngenta, BIOPS Agrotekno Naufalino Fadel (Co-Founder): Electrical Engineering Pebriani Artha (Co-Founder): Information Systems Interns/Part-time: 5 people

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact

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